Are Mortgage Rates Going Up? 3 Indicators to Watch

When the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by 0.25% in December 2015, with the promise of more rate hikes in 2016, it was widely expected that long-term rates would follow, ending a five-year trend of flat or declining mortgage rates. The rate increases were planned based on the expectation that the economy would strengthen and inflation would resume its climb. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate stood just below 4% before the December rate hike. And that is just Read more [...]

Avoid an Audit: 6 "Red Flags" You Should Know

If history is any indicator, fewer than 1% of Americans will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service in the coming year. And while some of the audits are totally random and unrelated to any actions by the individual taxpayer, many are triggered by actions taxpayers themselves have taken. Below is a list of "red flags" that can cause your return to be targeted by the IRS for review. Pay particular attention, as knowing what these triggers are can save you a lot of trouble and anxiety. 1.) Read more [...]

Will Your Home Remodeling Pay Off?

Remodeling certain areas of a single-family house is an excellent way for homeowners to add increased functionality and beauty to a property at someone else's expense. By choosing the right project to enhance your living space, a significant portion of the expense can be passed on to future owners in the form of increased property values. Read on to find out how you can do this. Think Before You Build The return on investment (ROI) of any given renovation project is a function of Read more [...]

Appreciation Linked to Population Rise

Appreciation and demand go hand in hand, and for investors, both are key to profit, according to a new report. Assessing the association between growing interest and mounting prices, analysts at HouseCanary found that appreciation is higher where inbound migration numbers are swelling. Boise, Idaho, for example, has had a high influx of new residents, and a corresponding increase in prices across all property types—from 2010 to 2017, Boise greeted more than 57,600 new residents, while apartments Read more [...]

Amazon Experience Centers Look to Transform Smart-Home Shopping

Amazon is making moves yet again. As a way to market its smart-home business segment without having to invest in conventional store locations, the online marketplace giant has partnered with Lennar Corporation to provide connectivity demos of Alexa-enabled products—everything from video doorbells and smart shades to lighting and scheduled deliveries—within the homebuilder’s model homes, calling these showrooms Amazon Experience Centers. “Amazon’s ability to bring a home to life with Read more [...]

Importance of home inspection contingency

Before you buy a home, one of the things you should do is to have it checked out by a professional home inspector. Yes, we can hear your objection: "Buying a home is expensive enough as it is! Why would I choose to fork over hundreds more if I'm not required to?" In this article, we'll delve into what a home inspection can reveal and whether it's worth the investment. See also: "10 Worst First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes" The Home Inspection Contingency Home inspections are used to Read more [...]

Do You Need A Home Warranty?

When you purchase a home, even a home that isn't new, there is a very good chance that you will be offered a home warranty. The seller may offer to purchase one on your behalf to provide peace of mind that any component of the home that fails can be fixed affordably. If not, you will likely receive numerous mail solicitations to purchase a home warranty once the sale closes. A home warranty may sound like a great form of financial protection against expensive, unforeseen home Read more [...]

Inflation for Dummies

At its most basic level, inflation is a general increase in prices across the economy and is well-known to all of us. After all, who among us has not reminisced about cheap rents of the past or how little lunch used to cost? And who has not noticed prices on everything from milk to movie tickets creeping upward? In this article, we explore the major types of inflation and touch upon the competing explanations offered by different economic schools. Stagflation and Hyperinflation: Two Extremes Although Read more [...]

Home-Equity Loans: What You Need to Know

A home-equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, lets homeowners borrow money by leveraging the equity in their homes. Home-equity loans exploded in popularity in the late 1980s, as they provided a way to somewhat circumvent the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which eliminated deductions for the interest on most consumer purchases. With a home-equity loan, homeowners could borrow up to $100,000 and still deduct all of the interest when they file their tax returns. The problem for homeowners Read more [...]

Try This Home-Equity-Line-of-Credit Hybrid

Traditionally, if you wanted to borrow against the equity in your home, you could either get a fixed-rate home equity loan or draw money against a home equity line of credit (HELOC), a closed-end line of credit with a variable interest rate. Now there’s a third choice: the HELOC fixed-rate option. In fact, some of the biggest lenders, such as Bank of America Corporation and Wells Fargo Company, have used it to replace home-equity loans, possibly because of new mortgage regulations Read more [...]